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Transitional Kindergarten FAQs

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the fiscal requirements and the related penalties for Transitional Kindergarten (TK).

Funding and Reporting Information | TK Class Size and Ratios | Early Enrollment Children | Instructional Time and TK

Additional FAQs regarding programmatic requirements are available on the California Department of Education's (CDE’s) Universal Prekindergarten web page.

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Funding and Reporting Information

  1. How should a school report Transitional Kindergarten (TK) students for the Kindergarten annual immunization assessment report? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    The school will report their TK students within the same line as their Kindergarten students; there will be no differentiation between TK or Kindergarten students for purposes of reporting immunization to the California Department of Public Health. More information on immunization reporting is available at the Shots Required for Transitional Kindergarten and 7th Grade (ca.gov) External link opens in new window or tab. and Immunization Reporting (ca.gov) External link opens in new window or tab..

  2. If a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) student who turns five between September 2 and the TK eligibility cut-off date for the applicable school year starts school on the first day of the school year, can we only claim Average Daily Attendance (ADA) from the time the student turns five-years-old, or can we claim ADA from the first day of the school year? (Updated 26-Sep-2023)

    Attendance for TK students turning five between September 2 and the applicable TK eligibility cut-off date (listed below) generate ADA for the purpose of funding beginning the first day of the school year, pursuant to Education Code Section 48000(c).

    • In 2023–24, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 years old between September 2 and April 2*,
    • In 2024–25, children are eligible for TK if they turn 5 years old between September 2 and June 2*,
    • In 2025–26, local educational agencies are required to make TK available to all children who will have their fourth birthday by September 1* of the school year.
    • *Inclusive of these dates
  3. Can we claim Average Daily Attendance (ADA) for a student who turns five after the end date of the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) eligibility cut-off date from the first day of the school year? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    No. According to Education Code Section 48000(c)(2)(B), attendance for students who turn five after the TK eligibility cut-off date, but are admitted to TK at the discretion of the local educational agency (LEA) on or after the first day of the school year do not generate ADA until they reach their fifth birthday. ADA may not be retroactively claimed from the start of the school year if the child’s birthday falls after the TK eligibility cut-off date; LEAs may only begin claiming attendance for these students once they turn five.

    Please refer to FAQ #2 of the Funding and Reporting Information section for eligibility cut-off dates.

  4. How is Average Daily Attendance (ADA) reported for Transitional Kindergarten (TK)? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    ADA for students who turn five during the applicable TK eligibility window and are enrolled in a TK program should be reported with all other TK/K-3 ADA through the Principal Apportionment Data Collection (PADC) Web-based Application. Students who turn five after the applicable TK eligibility window only begin generating ADA for funding purposes once they turn five. Once they reach five years of age, ADA for these students should be reported with all other TK/K-3 ADA through the PADC Web-based Application.

    Please refer to FAQ #2 of the Funding and Reporting Information section for eligibility cut-off dates.

  5. Are school districts and charter schools required to report Transitional Kindergarten (TK) information via the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS)? (Revised 26-Sep-2023)

    Yes. School districts and charter schools should enroll all TK students in CALPADS, including those students who do not meet the age-eligibility cut-off date. School districts and charter schools are required to obtain Statewide Student Identifiers (SSIDs) for all Kindergarten students, including TK students. Students participating in a TK program are enrolled in CALPADS with a grade level of Kindergarten (KN) and have a TK program record. The required CALPADS Education Program Code for TK is 185, which indicates participation in a TK program. Anyone with CALPADS-related questions should consult relevant CALPADS documentation on the CALPADS System Documentation web page.

    School districts and charter schools may not claim ADA for students who do not meet the age-eligibility cut-off date until their fifth birthdays. Additionally, TK students who do not meet the age-eligibility cut-off date will not be counted for the purposes of the Unduplicated Pupil Percentage for the Local Control Funding Formula.

    Please refer to FAQ #2 of the Funding and Reporting Information section for eligibility cut-off dates.
  6. Should a student who turns five after the applicable Transitional Kindergarten (TK) eligibility cut-off date but is enrolled in (TK) prior to their fifth birthday be included in the active enrollment count for the purposes of calculating the average class enrollment for the TK/K–3 Grade Span Adjustment or the Class Size Penalty Calculation under local control funding formula (LCFF)? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    Yes. If the TK student is enrolled in school and on the teacher’s roster, then the student should be included in the active enrollment count for the purposes of calculating the average class enrollment for the TK/K-3 Grade Span Adjustment and Class Size Penalty Calculation under LCFF, even if not yet counted for ADA. (California Code of Regulations, Title 5 [5 CCR], Section 15498.1)

    Please refer to FAQ #2 of the Funding and Reporting Information section for eligibility cut-off dates.

  7. How many years can a school district claim apportionment for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) and Kindergarten? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    Pursuant to Education Code 46300(g), school districts may claim average daily attendance (ADA) for a child for one year of TK and not more than two years in Kindergarten or two years in a combination of TK and Kindergarten.

  8. Can a school district partner with a non-local educational agency (LEA) to provide their Transitional Kindergarten (TK) services? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    No. TK is the first year of a two-year Kindergarten program and cannot be provided by a non-LEA agency as statute requires that students must be under the immediate supervision and control of a certificated employee of the school district or county office of education (EC Section 46300(a)).

  9. Can district A enter into an interdistrict transfer agreement with district B so that district B can provide a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program for district A’s TK-eligible children? (Revised 26-Sep-2023)

    No. Each school district must offer TK for the students residing in their district. Nevertheless, LEAs may enter into interdistrict transfer agreements with each other in order to serve students who wish to be served in other districts. In interdistrict transfer agreement situations, the district serving the individual student claims the individual student’s attendance for apportionment.

  10. Can a local educational agency (LEA) meet the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) offering requirement through a vendor? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    No. The Education Code (EC) establishes criteria that must be met in order for attendance for apportionment to generate Average Daily Attendance (ADA). One criterion is the supervision of students by a certificated employee of the LEA. Below are the requirements for attendance generation in different instructional settings.

    Classroom-Instruction (School Districts and county offices of education [COEs])

    • For attendance generated through classroom (in-person) instruction, EC Section 46300(a) requires that a student must be under the immediate supervision and control of a certificated employee of a school district or a COE.


    Classroom-Instruction (Charter Schools)

    • For attendance generated through classroom-based instruction, EC Section 47612.5(e) requires that a student must be under the immediate supervision and control of a certificated employee of the charter school.


    Independent Study (School Districts, COEs, and Charter Schools)

    • For attendance generated through independent study instruction, EC Section 51747.5(a) requires that the supervising teacher coordinating and evaluating the work product be a certificated employee of a school district, charter school, or COE.
  11. Can a school district contract or enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with another local educational agency to operate its Transitional Kindergarten (TK) Program? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    Pursuant to Education Code Section 46300(a), a school district can contract with a county office of education to provide instruction to its students and the school district can claim the Average Daily Attendance (ADA). However, a school district cannot claim ADA by contracting with another school district or charter school.

  12. Can a preschool program generate Transitional Kindergarten (TK) funding? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    No. Preschool programs are not eligible to generate funding for TK programs. TK funding is based on Average Daily Attendance (ADA) which is funded through the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF).

  13. Can a local educational agency implement Transitional Kindergarten (TK) age eligibility expansion ahead of the statutory schedule? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    Yes. Education Code Section 48000(c)(2)(A) states that a school district or charter school may, at any time during a school year, admit a child to a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program who will have their fifth birthday after the date specified for the applicable year, but during that same school year, subject to conditions. Students that are enrolled but have birthdays outside of the age-eligible date range do not generate Average Daily Attendance, and therefore do not generate a Local Control Funding Formula apportionment and are not included in enrollment or unduplicated pupil counts until their fifth birthdays (EC Section 48000(c)(2)(B)).

    However, since these children are still TK students enrolled in a TK classroom, they must be included in student counts for the TK class size and adult-to-student ratios, TK/K-3 grade span adjustment, and class size penalties (EC Section 41378).

    For information on the statutory requirements for early enrollment children, see the Early Enrollment Children section below.

  14. What are the penalties for not meeting the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) requirements for class size, adult-to-student ratios, and teacher credentialing? (Updated 26-Sep-2023)

    The following applies to TK classes without early enrollment children: Penalties for failing to meet the requirements for average Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class enrollment, adult-to-student ratios, and credentialed teachers are outlined in Education Code (EC) Section 48000.1.

    • Average Class Enrollment of 24: The penalty is loss of the TK/Kindergarten through grade 3 (TK/K–3) Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) grade span adjustment (GSA) (10.4% of the TK/K–3 LCFF base grant per Average Daily Attendance [ADA]) for all TK ADA in the local educational agency (LEA).


    For example, an audit finding would be:

    TK/K-3 GSA dollar amount multiplied by the school district’s or charter school’s second principal apportionment period’s TK ADA. This penalty will not be applied to a school district that loses the TK/K–3 LCFF GSA pursuant to EC Section 42238.02(d)(3)(D)(i).

    • 1:12 adult-to-student ratio: The penalty is the amount determined based on multiplying the following:
      1. The number of additional adults needed to meet the 1:12 ratio requirement as calculated pursuant to EC Section 48000.1(b)(1)(A)(i)
      2. The number 24, reduced by the statewide average rate of absence for elementary school districts for kindergarten and grades 1 through grade 8, inclusive, as calculated by the California Department of Education (CDE) for the prior year and rounded to the nearest tenth
      3. The applicable TK LCFF add-on rate as provided for in EC Section 42238.02(g)(2)

    For example, an audit finding stating one additional adult was needed to meet the ratio requirement would result in a penalty of one adult multiplied by 24 reduced by the statewide average rate of absence for elementary school districts for kindergarten and grades 1 through grade 8 multiplied by the TK LCFF add-on rate for that audit year.

    The Early Childhood Education Credential Requirement pursuant to EC Section 48000(g)(4) has been postponed from August 1, 2023 to August 1, 2025.

    • Early Education Credential Requirements: The penalty is the amount determined based on multiplying the following:
      1. The number of credentialed teachers that did not meet the TK requirements (see FAQ #11)
      2. The number 24, reduced by the statewide average rate of absence for elementary school districts for kindergarten and grades 1 through grade 8, inclusive, as calculated by the CDE for the prior year and rounded to the nearest tenth
      3. The applicable TK/K–3 LCFF Base Grant per ADA
      4. The sum of all school days the teacher(s) rendered service in a TK classroom without meeting the requirements divided by the total days of instruction for those teacher(s).


    An example of an audit finding stating one teacher taught for 90 days out of 180 days without meeting the TK teacher requirements would result in the following penalty:

    One teacher multiplied by 24 reduced by the statewide average absence rate for elementary school districts for kindergarten and grades 1 through grade 8 multiplied by the applicable TK/K–3 LCFF Base Grant per ADA multiplied by the sum of all school days multiplied by (90 ÷ 180)].

    The maximum penalty for all three TK requirements is the product of the LEA’s total Second Principal Apportionment TK ADA multiplied by the sum of the applicable TK/K–3 base grant per ADA, the TK/K–3 GSA, and the TK add-on funding.

    Statewide absence rates and the TK/K-3 GSA are available on the CDE website’s Principal Apportionment section in the Funding Rates and Information page.

  15. Are there any changes to the credentialing requirements for teachers who are assigned to a Transitional Kindergarten class in the 2023-24 school year? (Posted 26-Sep-2023)

    The credentialing requirement in Education Code Section 48000(g)(4) will be required starting August 1, 2025.


Transitional Kindergarten Class Size and Ratio Information

  1. What are the adult-to-student ratios for Transition Kindergarten (TK) classrooms? (Revised 26-Sep-2023)

    For the 2023-24 school year, the adult-to-student ratios for TK classrooms remain at 1 adult to 12 students.

    See FAQ #4 under Early Enrollment Children for the adult-to-student ratio requirements for classrooms with an early enrollment child.

    Beginning in the 2025-26 school year, the adult-to-student ratio will be 1 adult to 10 students (Education Code Section 48000(g)).

  2. What is the adult-to-student ratio for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) during recess and lunch? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    Statute requires that a school district or charter school shall maintain an average ratio of at least 1 adult for every 12 students during instructional time. For TK students at a school district, instructional time may also include recess if the students are engaged in educational activities required of them and under the immediate supervision and control of a certificated employee (Education Code Section 46115).

    The law is silent with respect to whether the ratio must be maintained during lunch and recess that is not being counted towards instructional time.

  3. How is the average calculated for the 1:12 adult-to-student Transitional Kindergarten (TK) ratio? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    The calculation for the average 1:12 adult-to-student ratio for transitional kindergarten (TK) classrooms required pursuant to Education Code Section 48000(g)(2) is as follows:

    • Step 1: Determine the total TK enrollment, which is the sum of the average enrollment count per class of all classes at the schoolsite, as determined for the 24 average class enrollment requirement (see FAQ #4, Step 3)
    • Step 2: Determine the number of adults:
      • Take a count of employees of the school district or charter school assigned to each class at the schoolsite that includes TK students on the last teaching day of each school month that ends before April 15 of the school year;
      • Sum the adult counts and divide by the total number of those counts, rounded to the nearest half or whole integer.
    • Step 3: The adult-to-student ratio is the total TK enrollment divided by the total number of adults calculated in Step 2, rounded to the nearest half or whole integer.
    • For more information regarding how the adult-to-student ratio average is calculated, please see the October 20 TK Requirements Webinar slide deck (PDF).
  4. Are Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classes required to maintain a schoolsite average of 24 students? How is the average calculated? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    Yes. Pursuant to Education Code Section 48000(g)(1), as a condition of apportionment for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) students, school districts and charter schools are required to maintain an average TK class enrollment of not more than 24 students for each schoolsite.

    The average TK class enrollment is calculated for each schoolsite using a process similar to the average TK through grade 3 (TK/K-3) class enrollment for purposes of the TK/K-3 grade span adjustment for school districts:

    • Step 1: Take an active enrollment count of all students enrolled in a class with TK students on the last teaching day of each school month that ends before April 15 of the school year;
    • Step 2: Sum all active enrollment counts for each class;
    • Step 3: Calculate the average enrollment count for each class by dividing the sum of all active enrollment counts by the total number of active enrollment counts made for each class;
    • Step 4: Sum the average enrollment count calculated for each class at the schoolsite and divide by the total number of classes at the schoolsite that include TK students, rounded to the nearest half or whole integer.
    • For more information regarding how the class size average is calculated, please see the October 20 TK Requirements Webinar slide deck (PDF).
  5. Is it acceptable for a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class to have more than 24 students if they maintain the 1:12 adult-to-student ratio? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    Per Education Code (EC) Section 48000(g)(1) a school district or charter school is required to maintain an average transitional kindergarten (TK) class enrollment of not more than 24 students for each schoolsite (see FAQ #4 for information on how the TK average class size is calculated). Failure to meet this requirement would lead to a penalty to the TK Local Control Funding Formula funding pursuant to EC Section 48000.1.

    The average TK class enrollment requirement is by schoolsite, not individual TK class, therefore it is possible for a school district or charter school to have an individual TK class with more than 24 students but still maintain an average at the schoolsite of 24 or less.

  6. Does the 1:12 adult-to-student ratio need to be maintained at all times during the instructional day? (Updated 26-Sep-2023)

    Per Education Code Section 48000, school districts and charter schools are required to maintain an average of at least 1 adult for every 12 students for Transitional Kindergarten classrooms at each schoolsite. This 1:12 adult-to-student ratio should be maintained for the entire instructional day to the extent it is reasonably possible. (For example, a teacher may need to take a student to the office or take a quick bathroom break in which case the ratio would, briefly, not be met.) Please see FAQ #8 for more information on maintaining the 1:12 ratio when the second adult is assigned to the TK classroom on a part-time basis.

    Note: The manner in which the ratio is calculated does not relieve a local educational agency (LEA) from meeting supervision requirements for the entirety of the instructional day whereby instructional time and attendance for apportionment may only be counted when a student is under the immediate supervision and control of a certificated employee of the LEA. Please refer to the FAQs under Instructional Minutes Information for guidance regarding instructional time requirements.

  7. Can a special education aid or a speech therapist assigned to work with specific students in the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classroom be counted in the 1:12 ratio? (Revised 26-Sep-2023)

    No. The assigned adult must be an employee of the school district or charter school who is dedicated and available to all TK students for the duration of their time in the TK classroom.

  8. Can an adult assigned to a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classroom on a part-time basis be counted in the 1:12 ratio? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    Yes. If the adult is dedicated and available to all TK students, the adult’s time can be counted towards meeting the 1:12 ratio. The school district or charter school should maintain documentation for the fractional amount of time the adult is assigned to a TK classroom.

    For example, a TK classroom with 24 students, 1 teacher, and 2 part-time adults, would require that the total time the 2 part-time adults are assigned to the classroom equal 100% of a full-time adult in order to still satisfy the 1:12 ratio.

  9. Do the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class size and adult-to-student ratio requirements apply to all students in combination classes, or only to the Transitional Kindergarten students in the class? (Updated 26-Sep-2023)

    The TK class size and adult-to-student ratio requirements apply to all students in a classroom providing instruction to TK students, including combination classes, with the exception of students enrolled in “long term” independent study, as described in Education Code (EC) Section 48000(g)(1)(B)(ii) and (iii) (which address school district and charter schools respectively) and in special day classes. [EC sections 42238.02 (d)(3)(D)(ii), 48000(g)(1)(A) and 48000.1(b)(2)].

  10. Do the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class size and adult-to-student ratio apply to students participating in independent study? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    If a student is participating in long term independent study, as described in Education Code (EC) Section 48000(g)(1)(B)(ii) or (iii), the student is not counted for the purpose of calculating the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class size and adult-to-student ratio. Instead, the student’s Average Daily Attendance and the corresponding certificated employee’s full time equivalent (FTE) for independent study is counted towards the independent study ratio calculation pursuant to EC sections 51745.6 and 51749.5.

    If the student is not participating in independent study, as described in the above-referenced subdivisions, the student is counted for the purpose of calculating the TK class size and adult-to-student ratio. For example, a student who participates in independent study for fewer than 15 schooldays in a school year, whether in a district-operated or charter school, is counted for the purpose of calculating the TK class size and adult-to-student ratio.

    For more information regarding the independent study ratio, please refer to the Independent Study Ratio Calculations page.

  11. Do the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class size and adult-to-student ratio requirements apply to special education students? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    The Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class size and adult-to-student ratio requirements apply to any classroom providing instruction to TK students, with the exception of special day classes. Special education students in general education classes are subject to the TK requirements (Education Code sections 48000(g)(1)(A) and 48000.1(b)(2)).

  12. Can a school district or charter school apply for a waiver for the Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classroom enrollment and ratio requirements? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    No. The requirements of Transitional Kindergarten (TK) in Education Code (EC) Section 48000(g) are conditions of apportionment and are therefore not waivable by the State Board of Education. School districts and charter schools will incur fiscal penalties to the TK Local Control Funding Formula funding pursuant to EC Section 48000.1 if the annual audit finds that they failed to meet the TK requirements.

  13. Can we have a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) class with more than 24 students if we add a third adult? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    Since Education Code (EC) Section 48000(g)(1) requires that a school district or charter school maintain an average TK class enrollment of not more than 24 students for each schoolsite, it is possible to have an individual TK class with more than 24 students while maintaining an average at the schoolsite of 24 or less. However, failure to maintain an average of 24 students or less at the schoolsite would lead to a penalty to the TK Local Control Funding Formula funding pursuant to EC Section 48000.1, regardless of the number of adults.

  14. Are Transitional Kindergarten (TK) students who are ineligible to generate Average Daily Attendance, due to their age, included in the TK class size and adult-to-student ratio counts? (Updated 26-Sep-2023)

    Yes. All TK students, including those not generating apportionment funding, must be included in student counts for the TK class size and adult-to-student ratios.

    See FAQ #6 under Early Enrollment Children for information regarding early enrollment children.

 

Early Enrollment Children

  1. Can children with summer birthdays enroll in a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program? (Posted 26-Sep-2023)

    For the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years, a child whose fourth birthday falls between June 3rd and September 1st preceding the school year may be enrolled in a TK classroom provided certain statutory provisions are met.

  2. What is an “early enrollment child”? (Posted 26-Sep-2023)

    Education Code (EC) Section 48000.15(b)(4) defines an early enrollment child as a child whose fourth birthday falls between June 3rd and September 1st preceding the school year during which they are enrolled in a TK classroom.

    The allowance for an “early enrollment child” to be admitted into a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program was signed into law by the Governor as part of Senate Bill (SB) 114 (Chapter 48, Statutes of 2023) and amended by SB 141. The signing of SB 114 and 141 enacted EC Section 48000.15, which permits the admission of “early enrollment children” into a TK classroom.
  3. Are school districts and charter schools required to admit “early enrollment children” into a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program? (Posted 26-Sep-2023)

    No. It is a local decision to admit early enrollment children into a TK program during the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years.

  4. Are the statutory requirements for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classrooms that admit “early enrollment children” the same as those that do not have any “early enrollment children?” (Posted 26-Sep-2023)
    The instructional time and supervision requirements necessary to generate average daily attendance (ADA) are the same for any classroom with TK students. However, any school that includes a TK classroom with an “early enrollment child” must meet the following statutory requirements outlined in Education Code (EC) Section 48000.15:
    • Maintain a 1:10 adult-to-student ratio
    • Maintain a classroom enrollment of no more than 20 students
    • Prioritize assigning credential teachers that meet at least one of the requirements in EC Section 48000(g)(4)(A-C), to the extent possible
    • Offer concurrent enrollment to these students in a California state preschool program that is run by the school district if they operate one

    Compliance with the adult-to-student ratio and classroom enrollment requirements will be verified during the annual audit which will be posted on the Education Audit Appeals Panel’s web page at https://eaap.ca.gov/. External link opens in new window or tab.

    Note: The instructional time and supervision requirements apply to all TK classrooms, inclusive of those with an “early enrollment child”. Please refer to the FAQs under Instructional Minutes Information for guidance regarding instructional time requirements
  5. Can a school district or charter school admit children who turn 4 after September 1st into a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program in the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years? (Posted 26-Sep-2023)

    No. In order to participate in a Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program, students must meet the age eligibility requirements provided for in state law. This means that only students who turn five during the schoolyear pursuant to Education Code (EC) Section 48000(c), or meet the definition of an “early enrollment child” pursuant to EC Section 48000.15(b)(2) may be admitted to TK in the 2023-24 and 2024-25 school years.

  6. Do “early enrollment children” generate Average Daily Attendance (ADA)? (Posted 26-Sep-2023)

    An “early enrollment child” shall not generate ADA and shall not be included in the enrollment or unduplicated pupil count until the student has attained their fifth birthday.

  7. How is the 1:10 adult-to-student Transitional Kindergarten (TK) ratio calculated? (Posted 26-Sep-2023)
    The calculation for the average 1:10 adult-to-student ratio for TK classrooms with early enrollment children required pursuant to Education Code Section 48000.15(d)(1) is individually calculated for each classroom as follows:
    • Step 1: Determine the total TK active enrollment for the classroom, which is the sum of each enrollment count for any classroom with an early enrollment child on the last teaching day of each school month that ends before April 15 as determined for the 20 class size enrollment requirement (see FAQ 8, step 3).
    • Step 2: Determine the number of adults:
      • Take a count of employees of the school district or charter school assigned to each TK classroom with early enrollment children on the last teaching day of each school month that ends before April 15;
      • Sum the adult count for each classroom and divide by the total number of those counts, rounded to the nearest half or whole integer.
    • Step 3: The adult-to-student ratio is the total TK enrollment for each classroom divided by the total number of adults calculated for each classroom in Step 2, rounded to the nearest half or whole integer.
  8. Are Transitional Kindergarten (TK) classes with early enrollment children required to maintain a classroom enrollment of 20 students? How is the classroom enrollment calculated? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
    Pursuant to Education Code Section 48000.15(d)(3), separate from the existing TK classroom average of 24 students, school districts and charter schools are required to maintain a TK classroom enrollment of not more than 20 students for any TK classroom with early enrollment children as follows:
    • Step 1: Take an active enrollment count of all students enrolled in a class with early enrollment children on the last teaching day of each school month that ends before April 15;
    • Step 2: Sum the active enrollment counts for each class;
    • Step 3: Calculate the enrollment count for each class by dividing the sum of active enrollment counts by the total number of active enrollment counts made for each class. This number may be rounded to the nearest half or whole integer.


    Unlike the class size requirement of 24 pursuant to Education Code Section 48000, the enrollment count is determined for each classroom at the schoolsite that has an early enrollment child and is not allowed to be averaged across multiple classrooms within a schoolsite.

  9. What are the penalties for not meeting the early enrollment Transitional Kindergarten (TK) requirements for class size, adult-to-student ratios, and teacher credentialing? (Posted 26-Sep-2023)

    Penalties for failing to meet the requirements for TK class enrollment and adult-to-student ratios for classes with early enrollment children are outlined in Education Code (EC) Section 48000.15(e)(1).

    • Classroom Enrollment of 20: The penalty is loss of the transitional kindergarten through grade 3 (TK/K–3) Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) grade span adjustment (GSA) (10.4% of the K–3 LCFF base grant per Average Daily Attendance [ADA]) for TK classrooms with early enrollment children. For example, an audit finding would result in a penalty of the GSA dollar amount multiplied by the school district’s or charter school’s second principal apportionment period’s TK ADA for classrooms with early enrollment children. This penalty will not be applied to a school district that loses the TK/K–3 LCFF GSA pursuant to EC Section 42238.02(d)(3)(D)(i). This penalty would also not be applied in the case of a classroom including only early enrollment children.
    • 1:10 adult-to-student ratio: The penalty is the amount determined based on multiplying the following:
      1. The number of additional adults needed to meet the 1:10 ratio requirement as calculated pursuant to EC Section 48000.15(e)(1)(A)(i)
      2. The number 20, reduced by the statewide average rate of absence for elementary school districts for kindergarten and grades 1 through grade 8, inclusive, as calculated by the California Department of Education (CDE) for the prior year and rounded to the nearest tenth
      3. The applicable TK LCFF add-on rate as provided for in EC Section 42238.02(g)(2)


    For example, an audit finding stating one additional adult was needed to meet the ratio requirement would result in a penalty of one adult multiplied by 20 reduced by the statewide average rate of absence for elementary school districts for kindergarten and grades 1 through grade 8 multiplied by the TK LCFF add-on rate for the audit year.

    • Early Education Credential Requirement: The school district or charter school assigning credentialed teachers shall prioritize teachers meeting one of the requirements of EC Section 48000(g)(4)(A) to (C). However, there is no audit penalty for a school district or charter school that does not assign a teacher meeting the early education credential requirement to a class room with one or more early enrollment children.


    Statewide absence rates and the TK/K-3 GSA are available on the CDE website’s Principal Apportionment section in the Funding Rates and Information page.

  10. Are the requirements for early enrollment children waivable? (Posted 26-Sep-2023)

    No. Pursuant to Education Code (EC) Section 33050(a)(14), these requirements are not waivable by the State Board of Education.

  11. If a class includes a combination of age-eligible and early enrollment children, what requirements must be met? (Posted 26-Sep-2023)

    Once one enrollment child is enrolled in a TK classroom, all of the requirements for early enrollment children must be met in order to avoid an audit penalty. See FAQ #7 under Early Enrollment Children for the requirements for classrooms with an early enrollment child.

  12. Must an early enrollment child be offered the required instructional minutes and days in California Education Code (EC) for Transitional Kindergarten (TK)? (Posted 26-Sep-2023)

    Yes. All TK students must be offered the minimum number of annual instructional minutes and days, and must be scheduled for the minimum of 180 minutes per schoolday, as applicable.

    For more information on the instructional time requirements for TK students, please see the Instructional Time Table and the Instructional Time and TK Section.

  13. How are the requirements for the 1:10 adult-to-student ratio and class size of no more than 20 calculated for Traditional Kindergarten classrooms with early enrollment children? How will the respective audit penalties be assessed? (Posted 26-Sep-2023)

    The requirements and respective penalties for the adult-to-student ratio and class size are calculated and determined for each classroom at the schoolsite with at least one early enrollment child.

    See FAQ #9 under Early Enrollment Children for the requirements and audit penalties for classrooms with at least one early enrollment child.



Instructional Time and TK

  1. Is there a specific number of instructional minutes required for Transitional Kindergarten (TK)? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    Both school districts and charter schools must meet the annual instructional minutes requirements. The annual instructional minutes requirement for TK is 36,000 minutes per year (Education Code [EC] sections 46207 and 47612.5).

    • For school districts, the maximum school day in Kindergarten is 4 hours (EC Section 46111). There are two exceptions to this statute which allow schools that have adopted an early primary program (extended-day kindergarten) (EC Section 8973), and schools in which students are participating in an Expanded Learning Opportunity Program (EC Section 46120), to exceed 4 hours. In general, the minimum length of instructional time that must be offered to constitute a school-day is 180 minutes (EC sections 46114 and 46117). Pursuant to EC Section 46208, school districts must offer 180 or more days of instruction per school-year unless a school operates on a multitrack year-round schedule, in which case it must offer at least 163 days.
      • With the exception of instances of school closures prompted by an emergency, EC Section 37202(a) requires that elementary school programs operated by a school district must be of equal length of time during the school year, and this would include any TK and Kindergarten programs operated by the school district. EC Section 37202(b) provides an exception to this rule whereby a school district may operate TK and Kindergarten classes, either within the district or at the same schoolsite, for different lengths of time without a waiver if the school district is operating an Early Primary Program pursuant to EC Section 8973. For further information about Early Primary Programs please visit Kindergarten in California - Elementary.
    • Charter schools do not have a minimum number of minutes that must be offered each schoolday, although they do have to offer 175 days and a total of 36,000 instructional minutes to meet the annual days and minutes requirements for TK and Kindergarten pursuant to EC sections 47612(d)(3), 47612.5, and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 11960.
  2. Must a student admitted to Transitional Kindergarten (TK) at the start of the school year whose fifth birthday occurs after the applicable TK eligibility cut-off date of that same school year be scheduled for and offered the required instructional minutes in California Education Code (EC) for TK/Kindergarten? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    Yes. If the student is enrolled in a TK classroom (even if not yet counted for Average Daily Attendance [ADA]), the student should be scheduled for a minimum of 180 minutes per school day and offered the same number of annual instructional minutes offered other TK/Kindergarten students enrolled at the same school site. For more information on claiming ADA, refer to the Funding and Reporting section.

    Please refer to FAQ #2 of the Funding and Reporting Information section for eligibility cut-off dates.

  3. Are instructional minutes for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) and Kindergarten inclusive of recess? (Revised 26-Sep-2023)

    Recess may be included in the instructional time requirements provided that the students are in attendance under the immediate supervision and control of a certificated employee of the school district and engaged in educational activities required of them (Education Code [EC] Section 46300).

    • As a reminder:
      • Pursuant to EC 46117: the minimum school day for pupils in Kindergarten is 180 minutes inclusive of recesses.
      • Pursuant to EC 46111: a pupil in Kindergarten shall not be kept in school in any day more than four hours excluding recesses except for pupils in Early Primary Programs and students in Expanded Learning Opportunity-Programs intended to supplement instructional time provided by a school district pursuant to EC Section 46120.
  4. Are instructional minutes for Transitional Kindergarten (TK) and Kindergarten inclusive of breakfast? (Revised 26-Sep-2023)
    • Breakfast in the classroom may be counted towards the instructional minutes requirement as long as the students are under the immediate supervision and control of a certificated employee of the local educational agency and appropriate educational activities are taking place during meal services.
    • Letter from Jack O'Connell, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, on Instructional Minutes and Breakfast In the Classroom.
  5. Are instructional minutes for Transitional Kindergarten and Kindergarten inclusive of lunch? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)
    “Noon intermissions” (otherwise known as lunch time) may not be counted as instructional minutes pursuant to Education Code Section 46115.
  6. If naptime is built into the daily schedule for Transitional Kindergarten (TK), does this time count as instructional minutes? (Posted 19-Dec-2022)

    No. While naptime is a healthy activity for students of this young age, it would not count towards TK instructional minutes, as 180 minutes per day are required by Education Code 46117. In order to generate and claim attendance for apportionment, pursuant to Education Code Section 46300, students must be engaged in educational activities while under the immediate supervision and control of a certificated employee of the school district for 180 minutes per day. If TK and California State Preschool Program are blended to create a full-day of Universal Prekindergarten services (6 hours or more), a nap could be scheduled at any point during the program day, however, in order to meet the requirements for apportionment, the program would need to ensure that students are engaged in educational activities while under the immediate supervision and control of a certificated employee of the school district for no less than 180 minutes of the program day. For example, if the program provides 120 TK instructional minutes, then transitions to naptime, the program must still provide an additional 60 TK instructional minutes at some point during the remainder of the day in order to claim attendance for apportionment. Alternatively, the program may provide the full 180 TK instructional minutes prior to the scheduled naptime.

Questions:   Principal Apportionment Section | attendanceaccounting@cde.ca.gov | 916-324-4541
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, October 18, 2023
Recently Posted in Allocations & Apportionments